The former American Body Company/Better Wire Co. building at 1255 Niagara Street is on the upswing. Owner Bill Breeser is busy filling the 45,000 square foot building with commercial tenants on the first floor, and is working towards building an office environment on the upper floors.
Starting with the first floor, Local Honey Salon is moving into 2,000 square feet of space, and West Side Pet Clinic is also taking 2,000 square feet. KC’s Fitness is located in the back of the building, and Verve Dance Studio is in the building temporarily, but plans on eventually moving into the Upper West Side Arts Center at Richmond and West Ferry. That leaves 20,000 square feet still available (build-to-suit).
On the upper floors, approximately 15,000 square feet of office space has been finished, leaving 6,000 square feet of raw space remaining. Breeser is currently in the process of searching for tenants for those floors, which he is confident will fill up. “There’s an uptick in activity over here at Upper Rock,” he told me. “My building across the street has yoga, a brewery, a kombucheria, a cidery (on the way), and plant and floral shops (learn more). I’m thinking that there would be a synergy with additional fitness and food related businesses. We have the potential of being a new commercial corridor – in five years this will be a booming destination. This was the original Black Rock – Barbara Rowe from Vision Niagara is branding it Upper Rock (U-Rock). Where Black Rock is now? That was considered Lower Black Rock back in the day. 12 years ago, a friend of mine told me that this section of Niagara Street was going to make a comeback, and I didn’t believe her. It’s thrilling to see this momentum after 20 years of trying.”
I asked Bill if he felt that the Niagara Now project was a driver behind the momentum, and he said that it certainly plays a significant role, but is not the sole driver. I then asked him if he thought that he would ever see the day that the I-190 expressway would be removed along the Black Rock Channel and the Niagara River. “For the first time, I’m open to the possibility,” he answered. “I never thought that I would see Niagara Street bounce back the way that it has. If I live to be 83… yes, then the removal of the I-190 might happen in my lifetime. 12 years ago I would not have thought the same way.”
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Lead image: Originally, Breeser was going to prime and paint 1255 Niagara Street, but then he had second thoughts. Now he is in the process of removing some more of the white paint with an environmentally friendly stripper, to bring out the historic patina of the edifice.